For Malawians, it's an opportunity to achieve the dream of human flight. For visitors, it provides the Cultural and Adventure Experience of a lifetime.Read more..
We offer opportunities to Instructors as well as Tandem and Solo Pilots to use their passion as a means of transforming lives and communities.Read more..
Children from the community are collecting energy from the sun and using it to access the online resources they need to realize their dreams.Read more..
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Come dream with us. - Welcome to the all new face of The School of Dreams, an ongoing project designed to share the gift of free-flight with our friends in Malawi.
Many of our dreams for the project were realized this summer and I invite you to take a journey to this incredible African nation, through these images, or in the flesh next year.
Skies of Promise - Though every day seems flyable here, half of them look like this. And with soft, puffy cumulus as far as the eye can see, the modest hills and mountains of the Dedza and Ntcheu regions of Malawi are drawing my mind away from the familiar mammoths amongst the Rockies and Himmilaya.
Mathew is the School of Dreams Operations Manager, Malawi's only active Paraglider Pilot and your new best friend! [right:image:22617]He first met with Benjamin shortly after the discovery of the Mganja flying site during the 2014 Expedition. Of the eight people interviewed for future pilot training, Mathew was the only one who found ways to keep in touch on a regular basis until Benjamin's return, two years later. It is worth noting that, after the many challenges which arose in 2014, Benjamin was on the fence about continuing the project. It was, in fact, Mathew's keenness to learn and desire to fly which motivated the Canadian to return. Thanks to his fantastic English and hard work ethic, he and Benjamin were able to exceed the three main goals they had set out to complete during their time together in May and June of 2016. [show:image:22465] [b]Goals Completed:[/b][ol] [li]Make Mathew into a competent novice pilot (27 flights and 5 hrs logged)[/li] [li]Set up a Solar Powered Internet Cafe for local youth.[/li] [li]Create local jobs by purchasing sewing machines and teaching local moms to sew.[/li] [/ol]Since Jordan left at the end of June, Mathew has flown several dozen more times and has taught himself to fly cross-country. He has also taken on teaching the youth how to use the new Internet resources and works with the women on various community sewing projects. [show:image:22633] [right:image:22595]Mathew is one of the sweetest guys you'll ever meet and is overjoyed at the thought of international pilots coming to fly with him next year! When you visit the School of Dreams, Mathew will be happy to meet you at the airport in Lilongwe (LLW) and help you immerse yourself in the community and culture, at your own pace.
After 'cheese' the first word I learn in any new country is 'yes.' It's a survival thing. You see, despite my red hair and funny looking face, it is not uncommon for someone to begin speaking to me, in their native tounge, as if I were their neighbour. And though I could find polite ways to stop them, I have found that it requires less effort if I just say 'yes' after each statement, occasionally throwing in a 'No!' for texture. In the Salima area of central Malawi, a group of eager children followed me up a ridge. The scorching heat turning their excited screams into an inaudible haze, I can vaguely recall a young boy staring at me, exclaiming 'Elephant!' Feeling mildly insulted, but too tired to care, I gave him the thumbs up with my usual 'yes.' This continued until I launched 30 minutes later; 'Elephant!' 'Yes.' 'Elephant!' 'Yes.' [show:image:19949]The flying was intense, soaring low over the 100 metre high ridge with a personal goal of making to the other end and back; a daring out and return along this interesting geographical feature. Over tall trees and no landing opportunities I flew cautiously, until a feeling in my stomach told me to turn back. I tried, but the lift had gone and now my feet were dangling but 20 metres over the tall trees below. Pointing down-wind to make distance, but without a clearing in sight, I was mentally preparing for a tree landing. Then, by some great fortune, I spotted three mud huts and a small garden close by. I had just enough height to make it! [left:image:20199]Upon landing the small remote community, the 15 villagers and children kept back and went about their business. It was as if I didn't exist. Strange. I waved and said hi, but to no response whatsoever. While packing up a young boy found reason to approach me. 'Elephant,' he said. As interesting as this was, I had 8 km of bush to whack by GPS before dark and chose not to care; not until after covering my first few hundred metres. There before me stood a pile of poo that could have filled a Mini. [show:image:20200]Then, a tree fell 'Krrrrrr-pommmbb' right next to me. I froze and looked around. Another rustling came from behind. I turned slowly as not to startle what turned out to be a handsome old lumberjack wearing an antique 'Via Rail' conductor's coat. In perfect English he said 'What are you doing here? The elephants can kill you!' A tsunami of emotion overtook me. So sure of myself, missing all the warning signs, I had ultimately been chewed up by my own reality and crapped out into the obtuse ball of humiliation that I was. 'Yes' was no longer the answer. The hours which followed offered much time for self-examination. How could I have been so arrogant? Who am I serving in behaving this way? Having reached camp just before dark, I had escaped the hoofs of the hungry mammoths behind me. But that night, nothing could have felt more crushing than the realization that, having become so absorbed in what I had to offer these communities, I had ripened into a self-important cow pie, neglectful of the gifts they offered me in return. Ben